No win no fee lawyers dealt a blow by European court

In a recent case brought by the Daily Mirror‘s publisher, the European court of human rights ruled that success fees recovered by no win no fee lawyers in defamation and privacy cases represented a significant freedom of expression violation.

The Strasbourg court found that the nature and depth of the flaws in the no win no fee payment system is breach of European human rights conventions.  Legal experts predict that the ramifications for future libel and privacy cases in the UK will be significant. However the popularity of no win no fee accident claims will most likely be unaffected or affected only tangentially, these same experts maintain.

The court case stems from an appeal made by the Daily Mirror after they were subject to more than £360,000 in success fees on a £500,000 libel settlement.  The Strasbourg court stated that requiring the publisher to pay the success fees was out of proportion with the total settlement.  The original conditional fee agreement for the plaintiff in the case entitled it to receive a success fee of 95 per cent in addition to 100 per cent of its base costs.

MGN, the paper’s publishing group, stated that the recent court ruling in their favour has vindicated their long, hard fight regarding the case’s success fees. An MGN spokesperson also stated that the court found the entire conditional fee agreement system with success fees to be a flawed one.

The MGN spokesperson continued, stating that the firm hoped the judgment would increase the amount of pressure on the government in efforts towards the abolition of such recovery fees from defendants.  The spokesperson expressed MGN’s hopes that such an occurrence would be happening sometime in the near future.

One Ministry of Justice spokesman stated that the government has taken the court’s ruling into consideration and will be responding with its observations in due time.

Severe personal injury claim for construction worker

After a work accident claim involving a six metre fall through the roof of a cow shed, one self-employed construction worker suffered severe personal injury claims in the tumble.

Cleeve native Richard Cooke had been helping to dismantle Manor Farm’s cow shed roof at the time of the incident.  While he was on the premises of the farm, located in Corston near Bath, Mr Cooke tumbled to the concrete floor directly underneath the metal roof after the sheeting gave way under his weight.

As a result of the accident claim Mr Cooke sustained serious injuries to his head and spine.  The construction worker now cannot move about without the aid of a wheelchair, as the accident left him with incomplete paraplegia.

In the wake of the incident the Health and Safety Executive conducted an investigation of the work site.  An HSE inspector discovered that both Mr Cooke and a fellow construction worker were working at height without any safety equipment designed to prevent injury in the event of a fall.

At the time of the incident Mr Cooke had been sub-contracted to Clive Pearce (trading as CW Pearce of Martock).  Mr Pearce in turn was cub-contracted to construction firm DB Gibbons Ltd, located in Bristol.  Both companies entered pleas of guilty for breaching Health and Safety Regulations.  As a result DB Gibbons was fined £14,000 and CW Pearce was fined £12,000.  Combined legal costs of £4,000 were also paid by the two firms.

In related news statistics reveal that more than 4,000 UK workers sustained serious injuries at work where falls from height were the cause in 2010.  Many such workers have gone on to file successful personal injury claims against their employers.

£8 million personal injury compensation for one little girl

One eight year old girl has recently become the recipient of an £8 million personal injury compensation based on birth injury claims that had left her with severe brain damage.

Several hospital errors had led to Greater London native Holly Woods being deprived of oxygen while being delivered at Lewisham Hospital 8 years ago.  Hospital staff faced several medical negligence allegations such as neglecting to perform an emergency caesarean on Holly’s mother.

As a result of that decision Holly was deprived of oxygen she needed to survive.  The lack of air caused extensive brain damage to the girl, who is now wheelchair-bound for life with cerebral palsy.

While at London’s High Court, an agreement between Holly’s parents and the NHS Litigation Authority has led to an £8 million injury compensation claim.  The sum will be used to make sure that Holly is the recipient of the type of help she will need for the rest of her natural life.

Sarah Woods, the mother of the 8 year old child, commented that while the settlement will ensure that Holly will be able to receive the attention and care she requires in order to help her get the most from life, the money could never repair the damage that had been done to her daughter.

One Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust spokesperson commented on the case as well.  The trust expressed pleasure that a settlement had been reached that was amicable. Furthermore the trust also stated their hopes for Holly and her family best wishes for the future.

No information was available on the structure of the settlement being made to Holly’s family and whether it would consist of one lump sum or if it would be paid out in index-linked annual payments.

Hertfordshire boy awarded £6.4m personal injury compensation

One boy from Hertfordshire has recently been awarded a £6.4 million personal injury compensation for his serious birth injuries.

Now eight years old, Welwyn Garden City native Theo Kramer suffers from both cerebral palsy and quadriplegia as a result of his injury claims. Theo cannot sit or walk without constant care. Additionally he cannot communicate without the aid of a speech synthesiser.

Theo was born in Burnt Oak’s Edgware Birth Centre.  Unfortunately during his birth a student nurse neglected to notice that Theo’s hart rate had dropped during the delivery.  As a result the speed of Theo’s delivery was not increased.  A further issue compounding the situation  is that there were subsequent delays in transferring Theo and his mother to Barnet General Hospital after the delivery.

Theo’s mother and father, Janet and Earnie Kramer, filed a personal injury claim on their son’s behalf against both Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals Trust.  The Kramers’ medical negligence solicitors have been demonstrating faults on the part of the hospital staff.

One such allegation being made is that then 38-year-old Mrs Kramer was incorrectly admitted to Edware Birth Centre because this was her first pregnancy; the centre’s policy explicitly states that no first-time mothers under the age of 35 are to be admitted.

After a trial, the High Court made the decision to approve a £6.4 million payment to the Kramer family.  The payment compensation will be comprised of one large lump sum at first.  Then every year Theo and his family will receive index-linked payments which ensure the young child will receive the ’round the clock care and medical attention he requires.

Mr and Mrs Kramer were not available for comment in the wake of the court’s decision to approve the multi-million pound payout.

Car accident claim leads to £178k in damages for family

After a fatal car accident claim took the life of a driving teacher, his grieving family has been awarded a £178,357 personal injury compensation award.

Mr Alan Underwood was killed when an LGV neglected to carry out an emergency stop at the A5 Truck Stop near Northampton in Crick.  He was teaching a trainee lorry driver at the time of the incident.

The 48 year old driving instructor was teaching Corinne Radburn the proper technique for safely completing an emergency stopping manoeuvre in March of 2008.  However the training lorry was unable to stop, and Mr Underwood could not remove himself from the its path in time.  As a result the lorry struck him whilst traveling at 20 miles per hour.

During a court hearing the judge called Mr Underwood conscientious but someone who misplaced his faith in the drier of the training lorry.  The judge further commented that Mr Underwood had taken a risk by allowing someone to drive directly at him, even though he only did so to ensure the 18-ton lorry did not deviate when it braked.

Mr Underwood’s surviving family – five year old daughter Reann, 13 year old son Alan, and widow Dawn – originally pursued a personal injury claim with £250,000 in compensation.  However the total sum was reduced by nearly a third when taking Mr Underhill’s contributory negligence from standing in the path of the oncoming lorry.

The judge instead approved £17,500 in compensation for Reann, £10,500 for Alan, and £150,357 for Mrs Underwood.  The damages will be paid to the family jointly by the insurers for Mrs Radburn, who was the driver of the lorry, and Mr Underwood’s employers.  No information was made available regarding what percentage of the compensation award each insurer will be paying.

Whiplash injuries can be misleading, says one expert

One car accident claim expert has recently warned those suffering from whiplash to take their injuries seriously.

Traffic accident claims can be both traumatic and terrifying to their victims.  Neck or whiplash injuries can occur quite commonly in such accidents; as a result many personal injury lawyers have been cut out of the compensation loop by insurers in an effort to get victims to settle quickly and on the cheap.  However industry experts state that claimants need to take precaution and care before agreeing to any quick direct settlement.

Experts say that claimants should seek proper representation in order to avoid feeling pressured by the tactics employed by insurers.  A properly calculated compensation claim can sometimes be more than 15 times higher than an insurer might offer an injured victim.

Whiplash and other neck injuries can be very misleading.  The initial injury can sometimes masquerade as something as minor as a stiff neck unless the injured party is examined properly by a medical professional.  Unfortunately serious neck injuries can quite often lead to long-term problems or future health issues further down the road.  A later claim may no longer be possible if a quick settlement is made.  This can result in the loss of what could be a substantial additional compensation on behalf of the injury victim.

One industry expert stated that compensation claim cases in regards to whiplash and other neck-related injuries should always be dealt with by a qualified legal professional. Many firms specialise in such personal injury claims, which can lead to extensively experienced and knowledgeable legal representation.  This regularly leads in turn  to claimants succeeding in their legal proceedings efforts much more often than they would with a more inexperienced firm.

Collapsing roof leads to accident claim for demolition worker

After he fell down through the collapsing roof of a garage that had been slated for demolition, one Grimsby worker suffered a serious work accident claim.

The unnamed man was employed by Grimsby-based demolition company H. Cope & Sons Ltd at the time of the accident claim.  He suffered both a broken wrist and a shattered leg when the roof of the garage on which he had been standing collapsed, sending him plummeting to the ground below.

After being rushed to hospital, the worker was told that surgical procedures would be required in order to properly treat his personal injury claims.  Plates and pins needed to be surgically inserted in order to hold his limbs together properly as they healed. The likelihood that he will  ever be able to return to his former role as demolition worker is slim to none, as the man has spent more than 12 months on crutches as a result of his severe injuries.

The man’s employer was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for their role in his injuries.  The company, located on Moody Lane, Grimsby, was given a fine of £12,000 for the incident.  Additionally the courts instructed H. Cope & Sons Ltd to pay £3,570 in legal costs as well.

One HSE spokesperson stated that the devastating injuries suffered by the unnamed worker might have been avoided quite easily if the work had been supervised and planned properly.  Official figures reveal that nearly 4,000 similar accidents occurred last year alone across the country, many which could have been avoided as well.

No information was made available on whether the unnamed worker’s personal injury claims would be compensated by his employer or their business liability insurance cover.

Potholes lead to increased Scottish traffic accident claims

Due to freezing weather leaving Scotland’s road network pitted with potholes, traffic accident claims have increased significantly.

Thousands of emergency repairs are currently being carried out on roads in Scotland due to winter weather.  Car accident claims caused by potholes are a serious problem as evidenced by the 1,200 potholes earmarked by Edinburgh City Council in need of urgent repair jobs.

Many drivers in Scotland have been filing for personal injury compensation from local authorities to pay for the damages caused to both themselves and their motor vehicles in lieu of making claims against their insurance policies.  Motorists have been doing so in order to avoid having to pay excesses and also to preserve any no-claims bonus they may have accumulated through careful driving.

Local authorities have responsibility for maintaining and managing public roads in their respective areas under Scotland’s 1984 Roads Act.  Under the regulations these local authorities are responsible for keeping roads free from defects and in safe conditions that would eliminate the risk of any reasonably foreseeable injury or damage.

As a result these authorities may be responsible for awarding compensation caused to both drivers and their cars caused by run-ins with potholes.  If a driver can prove that it was both practicable and reasonable for the local authority to be aware of the pothole but the local council failed to maintain and manage the damage, they can successfully claim damages.

Industry experts advise motorists who suffer injuries or damage due to potholes to gather an abundance of evidence regarding the incident.  Properly documenting both the pothole and the damage it may have caused through photography or hospital bills will help to solidify drivers’ claims.  Additional information such as the weather conditions at the time of the incident and the size and location of the pothole can also be helpful.

In regards to repairing any vehicle damage, experts maintain that obtaining quotes from several different garages will aid in proving repair costs.  In the event that a vehicle requires urgent repair, motorists are urged to keep all invoices and receipts to properly document any claims.

Unions use no win no fee to milk millions, judge says

According to the comments of one senior judge, unions in the UK have milked millions of pounds from the government through the use of no win no fee legal representation.

Lord Justice Jackson’s comments came in an official report that named the no win no fee lawyers representing unions were profiting from the accident claims filed on behalf of their members.

Such rules have enriched injury solicitors and allowed corporations and celebrities to bring legal actions at no cost, the Court of Appeal judge stated.  Now he claims that unions had joined the ranks of those profiting.

The personal injury claims have imposed incredibly inflated legal bills on public sector organisations such as police forces, Whitehall ministries, councils, and the NHS.  Lord Justice Jackson also said that motorists and small firms have additionally suffered.

A remnant of the late 1990s and introduced under Tony Blair’s government, the system allows injury solicitors to claim success fees in the event that they win their case. The practice carries little risk since solicitors can take out insurance cover in the event their case fails.

In his report to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, Lord Justice Jackson stated that the positions taken by trade unions take in the warren of conflicting intrests should be closely scrutinised.

Calling the arrangement kaleidoscopic in its absurdity, Lord Justice Jackson stated that trade unions profit from personal injury litigation instead of funding it directly. He additionally stated that there have been no justifications of this policy ever made for the substantial trade union subsidies made to the detriment of the general public.

Representatives from UK trade unions declined the opportunity to comment on Lord Justice Jackson’s remarks at this time.  Many legal experts feel that the no win no fee ‘compensation culture’ that has arisen in the UK can be traced back to American roots.

Delivery driver wins £500,000 from work accident claim

One delivery driver has recently won a £500,000 compensation settlement after a work accident claim left him in constant pain.

53 year old Altrincham native Colin White had been working for York-based Home and Retail Deliveries at the time of the accident claim. A tail lift had been provided to both Mr White and a colleague in order to facilitate the unloading of furniture from the back of their van, yet they were not provided any training on its proper use.

Mr White stepped backwards onto the lift only to discover that it had been moved.  As a result he fell and suffered injury claims when he struck the back of his neck on the metal lift.

The delivery driver sustained serious a serious personal injury claim that included temporary paralysis.  Mr White’s doctors have also informed him that due to the constant levels of pain he must now endure he may never be able to work again.

Mr White subsequently filed a personal injury compensation claim against his former employer.  As a result of his pain and suffering and his future lost earnings, the former delivery driver has been awarded more than £500,000.

All employers have a legal requirement to ensure their workers are both clearly trained and instructed in order to fulfill their job duties, according  to the Health and Safety Executive.  The HSE states that this regulation applies to both direct employees and independent contractors as well.

These requirements include the duty to provide information regarding what kinds of risks and hazards an employer’s workers may face. The employer further needs to provide detailed training to its workers on how to deal with these risks and hazards and also how to react in the event of an emergency as well.